Brown Computer Graphics Group

Events in the Life of Vannevar Bush


1890	March 11	Born to Richard Perry and Emma Linwood (Paine) Bush;
			Everett, MA.

1913			Graduated Tufts College with B.S., M.S.
			Worked for GE test dept. 

1914-15			Worked for Inspections, U.S. Navy 
			Instructor of mathematics: Tufts College

1916-17			Awarded D.Eng. from both Harvard and MIT
			Assistant Professor  of electrical 
			engineering: Tufts College

1916	September 5	Married at Chelsea, MA, to Phoebe Davis
			daughter of William Hathaway Davis.

1919 			Returned to MIT as Assoc. Prof. of electrical
			power transmission.

WWI			Worked on submarine detection for U.S. Navy

1923			Made Prof. of elec. power transmission at MIT.

1928-			Dr.Bush and team at MIT develop the "network
1930			analyzer" a system for setting up miniature
			versions of large and important electrical networks.
			Simultaneously, they developed a prototype of
			the "differential analyzer".
1932			Appointed V.P. of MIT and Dean of the School
			of Engineering.

1935			Dr. Bush develops and patents the
			"differential analyzer" at MIT.

1938			Elected President of the Carnegie Instiution
			of Washington, D.C. Where he authored the
			proposal to President Roosevelt entitled:
			"Science: The Endless Frontier."
			Dr. Bush and John H. Howard prosposed, built,
			and patented the rapid selector.  A machine
			designed for high-speed referencing of
			information stored on microfilm.

1940			Appointed Chairman of the President's National
			Defense Research Committee, while retaining
			his position at the Carnegie Institution.

1941- 1947		Director of the Office of
			Scientific Research and Development.

(These previous two appointments made Dr. Bush a central figure in the development of nuclear fission and the Manhattan Project.)
1939- 1941		Chairman of the National Advisory Committee 
			for Aeronautics (member until 1948).

(Also during this time, Dr. Bush worked as a member of the Top Policy Group which was headed by President Roosevelt, and was Chairman of the Military Policy Committee. These groups addressed questions of national emergency response.)

1944 President Roosevelt asks Dr. Bush for recommendations on the application of "lessons learned" from WWII to civilian, peace-time activities.

With regard to the nature of these reccomendations, President Roosevelt requested that Dr. Bush focus on areas which could be employed ..."for the improvement of the national health, the creation of new enterprises bringing new jobs, and the betterment of the national standard of living."
Dr. Bush wrote: "It is my judgment that the national interest in scientific research and scientific education can best be promoted by the creation of a National Research Foundation." -Science the Endless Frontier, PP.28 Sec. "Pure Research"

1945			Dr. Bush submits "Science, the Endless
			Frontier" in response to Roosevelt's request.
			It was this proposal which set off events
			leading to the development of the National
			Science Foundation.

1945			Dr. Bush proposes the Memex in his 	
			quintessential article, "As We May Think".

1946	July		Dr. Bush appointed Chairman of the Joint
			Research and Development Board of the War
			and Navy Departments.

1947	September-	Appointed Chariman of the Development Board of
1948	October 15	the National Military Establishment.

1947			Appointed as a director of AT&T

1948			Appointed as a director of Merck and Co.

1950			Establishment of the National Science
			Foundation under the direction of Dr. Bush

1953 - 1955             Dr. Bush maintains membership on the 
                        National Science Foundation Advisory

1957 - 1959             Chairman of the MIT Corporation.

1959 - 1971             Honorary Chairman of the MIT 


1922			"Priciples of Electrical Engineering"

1929			"Operational Circuit Analysis"

1945 	July		"As We May Think", Atlantic Monthly.
1946 			Endless Horizons, a collection of papers and

1949			"Modern Arms and Free Men", a discussion of
			the role of scidnece in preserving democratic

1967                    "Science Is Not Enough", essays by Vannevar

1970                    "Pieces of the Action", an examination of
                         science and the state.

Awards and Honors:

1928			Louis Edward Levy Medal of the Franklin
			Institute for work on analyzing devices.

1935			Lamme Medal of the American Institute of
			Electrical Engineers for "his development of
			methods and devices for applications of
			mathematical analysis to problems of
			electrical engineering."

1939			Research Corporation award form Columbia

1941			Ballou Medal form Tufts College.

1943			Holley Medal of the American Society of
			Mechanical Engineers 

1945			Gold Medal of the National Institute of of
			Social Sciences for distinguished service to
			humanity, the Roosevelt Memorial Association's
			Distinguished Service Medal, and the Marcellus
			Hartley Public Welfare Medal of the National
			Academy of Sciences.

1946			The Washington Award presented by the Western
			Socciety of Engineers

1947	June		The Distinguished Service Medal of Tufts
			College, and the Hoover Medal for 1946 awarded
			by the American Institute of Engineers, the
			American Society of Civel Engineers, the
			American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical
			Engineers, and the American Society of
			Mechanical Engineers.

1948	February 11	Dubbed Knight Commander of the civilian
			division of the Most Excellent Order of the
			British Empire.
	May 	 27	Medal of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
			presented by  President Truman at the White

1949	February	Medal of the Industrial Research Institute,
			Inc. presented by President Truman at the
			White House.

1964    January 13      National Medal of Science presented by
                        President L. B. Johnson.

Honorary Degrees (Sc.D.s):

Tufts College, Brown University, Middlebury College, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, Stevens Institute of Technololgy, Williams College, Rutgers College, Washington University, Trinity College, Universtiy of Buffalo, West Virginia University, Columbia University, Princeton Universtiy, the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and Cambridge University.


"The pioneer spirit is still vigorous within this nation.  Science offers 
a largely unexplored hinterland for the pioneer who has the tools for 
his task.  The rewards of such exploration both for the Nation and the 
individual are great.  Scientific progress is one essential key to our 
security as a nation, to our better health, to more jobs, to higher 
standard of living, and to our cultural progress."

-V.B. July 5th, 1945  as director of the Office of Scientific Research 
and Development in his letter of response to President RooseveltÕs 
letter requesting his recommendations as noted above in 
the professional timeline.

"All my life, which has now lasted something under one hundred 
years, I have observed managers in action: in government, in 
universities, , and in industry, and I have puzzled over what made 
them tick.  I am far form the end of that puzzle, for no man can ever 
fully understand another, even a close friend.  But can we probe a bit 
toward the essence of the good, the great, managers."

Please direct comments and suggestions to

Special thanks to:
Dr. Paul Penfield, MIT
Dr. Andries van Dam, Brown University
Mr. Tomas Meyer, Brown University,
and Mr. Allen Renear, Brown University.

David Klaphaak, Jr.

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